4/8 MLW Battle Riot VI spoilers: McGuire’s in-person report on the taping for upcoming shows (spoilers)

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By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)

MLW Battle Riot VI
April 8, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 2300 Arena

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There’s only really one way one should spend Easter Eve: Cover MLW’s “Battle Riot” in an unseasonably cold Philadelphia at the 2300 Arena. Tune in to McGuire’s Mondays to hear about some time I was lucky enough to spend with Jacob Fatu. For now, here’s the results from Saturday night (spoilers, of course, included!).

1. 1 Called Manders defeated Yoscifer El in 1:55. This started about seven minutes before advertised bell time, so we can count this as a dark match. Simple squash. Yoscifer El had no entrance music, so that was fun. Philly, as expected, loves them some Manders – especially the wildly enthusiastic guy who sat in front of me.

2. MLW Heavyweight Champion Alexander Hammerstone defeated Mr. Thomas in 2:03. The Bomaye Fight Club was way over with the crowd and Alex Kane cut a promo before the match that got everyone all types of riled up. After the match, the lights went out and Raven’s group The Calling appeared. One masked guy tried to attack Hammerstone but that wasn’t happening. Shortly thereafter, Jacob Fatu and the Samoan Swat Team showed up to brawl with Raven’s dudes. As for the match – quick, painless and expected. This is what we call the nZo effect.

3. B3cca defeated Brittany Blake in 3:32. Man, that whole annoying musician gimmick never gets old in pro wrestling, does it? B3cca won with a 450 splash, which was impressive. Blake was over a bit with the crowd, considering how close Baltimore is to Philly. There wasn’t much heat for the match, but the wrestlers worked hard.

4. “Samoan Swat Team” Juice Finau and Lance Anoa’i defeated “Second Gear Crew” Mance Warner and 1 Called Manders to retain the MLW Tag Team Titles in 7:16. After the match, the lights immediately went out and Raven’s dudes hit the ring to attack SST. Eventually, Second Gear Crew helped SST fight them off. This was a wild one with just a little too many unprotected head shots than I’d like to see in the year 2023, but damn those guys are crazy. There was a particularly gnarly ladder spot that I’m interested to see play on television. All four guys had furniture in their hands before the bell even rang and this was seven minutes of brutality.

An announcement was made that the local government proclaimed Saturday Microman Day In Philadelphia. The crowd started to sing Microman’s music, but Davey Boy Smith Jr. came to the ring to ruin the fun and he ultimately powerslammed Microman. The crowd was pissed.

5. Jacob Fatu and Rickey Shane Page fought to an apparent no-contest in 11:34. Easily the best match of the night to this point with the most unsatisfying finish possible. RSP got color. Happy Easter. This thing had some wild spots for guys that big. Lots of furniture again (does MLW pick and choose which matches have rules on the fly?). And there were more than a handful of fantastic near-falls – so much so that I bit on a few of them. I can’t imagine it gets better than this all night, but we’ll see.

6. “The FBI” Little Guido and Ray Jaz defeated The Mane Event in 4:06. Not much to this one. The Mane Event entrance was popular with the live crowd but that’s kind of where this started and stopped. FBI, meanwhile … I mean it’s FBI. It’s Philly. What more could you want?

7. Willie Mack defeated Lio Rush and John Hennigan in a three-way in 8:36. Mance Warner came back out to sit in on commentary with a pair of Bud Lights. After the match, Warner saved Mack, who was getting attacked by everyone else in the match. As for the match, it was fine. I expected a little more from these three, but so it goes. Tough weekend for Hennigan, who lost his title at the New York taping and now took the pin from Mack in a Triple Threat here. The crowd absolutely loved Willie Mack. All crowds seem to love Willie Mack.

8. Akira defeated Lince Dorado in 8:34 to retain the MLW Middleweight Title. The finish was clever in that Akira wound up taking Dorado’s mask off his head as Dorada came down from a springboard move. Akira had his share of fans here, but at about an hour and a half into the show, we’ve seen Raven somewhere around 8,034 times and the act got progressively cold. Still, a fun match with an outcome that wasn’t really in doubt.

9. Shigehiro Irie defeated Calvin Tankman in 9:37 to retain the WXW Unified Championship. And here is where the wall was hit. That’s not to say the crowd wasn’t into Tankman at times; it’s just to say this got the flattest reaction of the night. The two wrestlers embraced after the match and even that got only a smattering of applause. Perhaps there weren’t enough people familiar with Irie’s work to get everyone up. Either way, I felt bad for the guys in the ring.

10. Mandy Leon defeated Billie Starkz in 2:34. Man. Billie just can’t catch a win these days, can she? Such is the life of an 18-year-old breaking into the wrestling business. “Boring” chants broke out for Raven, who was of course at ringside again, by the end of this one…and the match was only two and a half minutes.

11. Sam Adonis defeated Mance Warner in a strap match in 9:19. The rules for a good, old-fashioned strap match used to be touching all four corners in succession without being interrupted. That’s not how they did it here and it left some of us confused. The finish saw Warner put Adonis through a door, but I guess it was in the only corner Adonis hadn’t yet touched, so he got the fluke win. The crowd was up for this as they very much liked Warner and very much did not like Adonis.

12. Davey Boy Smith Jr. defeated Tracy Williams in 9:48 to win the 2023 Opera Cup. This was really a pretty good wrestling match. And that’s kind of novel coming from a card that had so many matches with weapons and stips. Smith is a star, guys. I don’t what WWE’s problem was/is, but he just feels like he should be on bigger stages. I’ll be interested to see this one on television, too, because the referee kinda messed up the finish …I think.

13. Delmi Exo defeated Taya Valkyrie in 8:26 to retain the MLW Women’s Featherweight Championship. Yes, Taya set up for Jaded/Road to Valhalla, but the move never materialized. You best believe TK said, “Take the booking, but damn it to all hell, if you don’t protect that damn finishing move …”. The match was fine. The ring announcer announced Battle Riot would be next but this match happened instead after John Hennigan interrupted him. Clever. It’s getting late and the show is long. That was a good way of letting everyone know things were about to conclude.

14. Alex Kane won Battle Riot VI in 49:49. This was a lot of a lot of a lot, as one would expect. The final two were Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Kane. The crowd was firmly behind Kane. The match kind reset halfway into it when all of the The Calling came in at once and eliminated everyone … until Jacob Fatu entered and saved the day. Taya and Alex Kane squared off and that was fun. Snitsky and Duke “The Dumpster” Droese were surprise entrants and got big pops. The star of the match was Kane, though, who had to have had the most eliminations. He was booked to come across as a force and that’s exactly what happened.

In all, a good night of wrestling. Nothing topped the Fatu/RSP match, but they set the bar pretty high. They also had another spot together in Battle Riot, where they came out and brawled to the back again, so something tells me those two are going to be one of the leading stories on MLW TV in the immediate future. It wasn’t a marathon, but it wasn’t quick, either. That’s what you get when you come to these MLW tapings, though. I’ll have more to say in my audio … er, wait. That’s for Rampage. Happy Easter!

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